Baseball was not the priority for the match tonight. The action on the pitch was not really the focus of my researching tonight – it was all about the fan experience. It’s so much more and this blog will delve into how a baseball match is surrounded with so much more…
What was the event?
Event: Mariners VS Texas Rangers
Date: 22nd July
Venue: T Mobile Park
The story begins…
Road closures in places, fans buying merch and the tickets beeping through the scanners. It was ball night. Mariners were taken on the Texas Rangers and although that’s what the product was that I was about to see – I was about to see so much more. Have you ever been to a sporting arena and they have “bark in park” – were spectators can bring there dogs along only on certain times throughout the season , photo booths and photo opportunities galore, charging units surrounding the bare beams that hold up the stadium and a place that was created by a genius team who saw no boundaries and created a home run for a stadium.
I was in a stadium where they have literally thought of every possible perfect touch point when it comes to the customer journey. It was called the T Mobile Park after the naming rights came into affect literally January of this year 2019. I was excited. Actually I was that excited I forgot there was a baseball game on. The spectators were being provided with a story and as the characters they were being taken on the journey is such a seem less way. I was sitting in a controlled and manufactured experience of perfection. Everything you could think about was being provided. Even a vet on standby for all the dogs in the stadium!
The event was not on the ball field. Food and drink offerings were galore and very diverse. The pricing was typical stadium pricing but reasonable and everyone was buying. The story of the fan is also quite fascinating. I learned early on that fans would drive approx. 2 hours for a home game due to their loyalty. This means the fan base for the Seattle Mariners covers 4 states and they have data that shows the fan base also comes from Vancouver. Spectacular!
In the seating area where I was seated as you looked about the screens were fully visible, the large screens had adverts constantly looping and the MC providing great input along the way. The hype up was great. There was an app I could download, WiFi was brilliant and the bright lights becoming a disco field really lit up the half empty stadium (due to it being a Monday and game 4 of 4 nights in a row). Food Hawkers strolling up and down was amazing but they knew all the customers as they were regulars. So there was this family spirit that was alive and well. It was beautiful.
The staff at the park were spot on. They understood the meaning of “delivering a perfect experience”. Advising people or just having general chit chat allowed everyone to feel guided and really part of the club but also part of a family. Junior Mariners who are the future season holder tickets and also players were served sporting activations before the game but also they could go and collect there points as well as becoming part of the juniors club. There aim is connecting kids to Mariners Baseball and it works with the incentives and drives. They receive kids ticket specials, families are welcomed, there Baseball/ softball camps. It’s clever and it’s everywhere.
As a first timer I received a certificate to say I was a first time attendee at a Mariner. I was so impressed by the three members of staff at the Guest Services booth. We laughed for about 10 minutes and they made me feel – at home. Very impressed and this is their smiling faces below. I will cherish that moment and the certificate for a long while.
Hidden but still visible was a Hall of Fame type of area for fans to experienced and see there favourite players from the past. They were against the whole and was a mini free museum as such – very impressed and beautiful addition to the concourse of the stadium. Another beautiful audition was the voice of Marines Baseball, Dave Niehaus who passed away in 2010. His voice meant so much to so many and the addition of a photo opportunity completed to honour him and have it in the of the concourse for everyone to engage with – was quite special to see.
The stadium was the story. The baseball was just there. The future is bright for the community because of the stadium. It’s a special place and will deliver so much good for the baseball and for the city of Seattle.
One thing to take away…
Stadiums are much more these days in terms of what they offer. However, this stadium is not just about adding things it’s about delivering a sense of community and fan experience that is incomparable to anything they would experience anywhere else…
Keep up the work Mariners / even if you may not win every match you play you certainly deliver the winning stadium experience